LACK is Deadly

Years ago on a football field, I learned a valuable lesson from my football coach. This lesson came at the end of a very lackluster and frustrating practice. It seemed that everyone was out of sync and that our team was not focused on our objective. In fact, the effort was minimal, and the mistakes were numerous throughout the practice.

I still remember the words from 42 years ago that echoed across the field as they have been indelibly inscribed in my mind. Trust me, the tone and intensity of the message made a lasting impression.

It was a warning message to every player that a display of "Lack" would never be acceptable on our football team.

Coach made it clear as he said, "A lacker will never be a Champion. A lacker will never be a Leader. A lacker will never be Respected. A lacker has no Pride. A lacker will never reach his Goals. A lacker will never build Trust. A lacker will never build a Team. A lacker will never know the sweet taste of Victory. A lacker will never be a Winner at anything in life except the game of losing. Are you men Lackers or Champions?" Bam!!!

Understanding LACK

As our coach addressed our team, you could sense a shift in everyone's attitude and mindset. It was obvious we had committed the equivalent of a moral sin in football: we had disappointed our coach and let each other down. That is not a feeling you ever want to experience if you are part of a team.

Being part of a team is a special thing in life, and with that privilege comes personal responsibility to always do your best for your teammates. We had miserably failed on that day to live in accordance with that mission.

The LACK list: you can never tolerate or live with a lack of:

  • Maximum Effort
  • Discipline
  • Preparation
  • Energy
  • Pride
  • Enthusiasm
  • Personal Drive
  • Fundamental Execution
  • Hustle
  • Desire to Win
  • Intensity
  • Consistency
  • Teamwork
  • Respect for Others
  • Determination
  • Attention to Detail
  • Belief in the Process
  • Championship Mentality
  • Commitment to the Team
  • Positive Attitude

These indicators of the existence of LACK shook me to my core. On that particular day, we were all guilty of lacking in some of the key areas that success demands. I didn't like the feeling of being labeled as a LACKER. Who would ever want their coach or leader to view them in that way?

I certainly didn't, and neither did my teammates. This was a major wake-up call for every member of the team.

The Disease of Lack

Our coach made it clear to us on a crisp fall afternoon in Louisiana that he would not tolerate LACK from any player. Furthermore, there would be no lackers allowed to wear our uniform or represent our program and our school. A definite line had been clearly drawn on the field that day. This was a football program built for winners, not lackers.


Coach made it crystal clear that LACK was a contagious disease. He would not allow LACK to spread, and if you were infected with LACK in any of the 20 symptoms listed above, you would not be allowed to be part of the team. I still remember this quote:

"There is no one player who is more important than our team as a whole."

I also remember these words as he continued his rant on lack:

"No one of us will ever accomplish more than all of us working together as one team with one purpose and one heartbeat."

I am so grateful for hearing this message so early in life. I am so appreciative of playing for a dynamic coach who cared enough about his players to snap us into reality. I am so thankful for his call to action that day because it certainly impacted the rest of my life.

Who Are We?

Anyone who has ever attended our Sustaining Excellence Leadership Program at the Level 10 University Campus knows the answer to that question. Anyone who has experienced the high-intensity, competitive environment we create knows and understands LACK is not tolerated at Sustaining Excellence. We demand and expect the best from every team member. This environment serves to create the best leadership development experience in the world.

The answer to the question:

"We Are One!"

At our campus, we are surrounded by the beauty of Lookout Mountain, and one of our traditions is to echo those words throughout the valleys of Wildwood, Georgia. As we stand together as a group all hands connected, one of our students screams the question:

"Who Are We?"

It is an awe-inspiring experience to hear these words echo back across the mountains like crashing thunder as every team member screams in unison...


And in that moment, you know that you truthfully are One Team with One Voice and One Purpose operating together with One Heartbeat. Life doesn't get much better than that to me.

For more information about attending Sustaining Excellence, please call 1-800-823-7698 and ask for one of our great sales professionals. We are always available to serve our customers.

Make a difference today.

Remember, It All Matters,

— Paul

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Copyright 2017: Paul Cummings Enterprises.

About the author: For over 30 years, Paul Cummings has taught dynamic life changing strategies on sales, customer service, communication, building a better business, and leadership. Millions have had the opportunity to learn what it means to live and work at Level 10.